Museum-going has been a virtual trip during the pandemic, with exhibitions feeling more or less the same whether they’re a few miles or half a world away. That’s about to change in New England, with museums all over the region aiming to reopen in mid-July, and some even in late June (the dates aren’t universal; be sure to check before heading out). In the meantime, let’s hope this is the last of our global cultural couch surfs, with five of the best onscreen museum experiences from around the globe.
Tate Modern (London): In what has to be a record for shortest run of a major retrospective, the Tate opened its omnibus Andy Warhol show March 12, only to shut down over pandemic concerns on March 17. The museum rallied to produce a video tour of the exhibition room-by-room — all 12 of them — by curators Gregor Muir and Fiontán Moran. The show is scheduled to run through September, though the museum has yet to set a reopening date. www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/andy-warhol/exhibition-guide
Museum of New and Old Art (Tasmania, Australia): “When we first opened,” a disclaimer on the front page of MONA’s website reads, “we called our general collection ‘Monanism,’ which has turned out to be less than a brilliant idea, because people can get a bit confused.” That’s bound to happen with a millionaire’s vanity project, in this case a subterranean showcase of whatever David Walsh, the museum’s eccentric founder, thought was interesting. The collection runs from fascinating to foul (Belgian artist Wim Delvoye’s “Cloaca Machine,” which synthesizes the human digestive tract with disturbing verisimilitude right before your eyes, is the star attraction), from neolithic to of-the-moment contemporary. The founder’s guiding ethos has shifted since the museum opened in 2001, the museum promises, “possibly because David has become less of a meany-pants.” Scrolling through pictures of its best-of’s is train-wreck transfixing. mona.net.au/museum/introduction
The National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.): A total of 42,462 objects from the gallery’s collection are available digitally through its collaboration with Google Arts and Culture, which is more than anyone could ever want or need. On its own site, on top of virtual tours of its currently shuttered Degas and Raphael shows, the museum launched a series called “Perspectives,” about current issues in the culture at large. A recent post, from June 15, looks at Black American artist Emma Amos’s long career of campaigning for racial justice. Amos didn’t live to see the international groundswell of the Black Lives Matter protests — she died May 20 — but her spirit is in them in full. www.nga.gov/index.html
Picasso Museum (Barcelona): Sure, Picasso’s a big deal — a pillar of Modernism as we know it — but his eponymous museum has a lot more to offer than pictures on the wall. Housed in a medieval stone palace, the museum’s virtual tour is transporting — across a century of art history, and a millennia of humanity itself. courtyard.museupicassobcn.org/
Miraculous Healings at the Uffizi Gallery (Florence): An unintentionally timely exhibition at this temple of Renaissance art — in the place where it was born — has the age-old Uffizi embracing 21st-century technology with aplomb: Dozens of images in glorious, eye-pleasing resolution (the museum is experimenting with HD image technology) track the significance of “disease and divine intervention” in Renaissance art. Spectacular, explicative, and clear-minded, it’s a model for what online excursions ought to be. www.uffizi.it/en/online-exhibitions/miracolous-healings